BBC World Service pilots Kenya-made Drop service

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The BBC World Service has launched its second Africa-designed digital pilot, with news content for the smartphone and social media generation now available with the new Kenya-designed pilot BBC Drop.

The first pilot was launched late last year, with BBC Minute CatchUP – designed by innovators at the RLabs incubator in Cape Town – going live to allow users to hear and share the latest edition of BBC Minute.

BBC Connected Studio and BBC World Service last year held development studios in Cape Town and Nairobi in order to generate ideas and explore technologies for new ways of BBC audio content reaching African audiences. BBC Drop was one of the innovations chosen from the latter event, designed by Kenyan startup called Ongair.

The service asks the user for a few favourite topics or social media preferences, and then continues to learn what they like and dislike from what they swipe on screen. It also has the option of an even more personal news feed, incorporating the user’s own social feeds.

“This latest innovation highlights the BBC’s strong commitment to serving young digital audiences in Africa – both editorially and technically. Digital revolution in Africa offers media companies great opportunities to grow the reach of their journalism and I am very happy that an African tech start-up is playing a key role in it,” said Dmitry Shishkin, digital development editor for BBC World Service.

 Meanwhile, the BBC Connected Studio team was in Nigeria at the beginning of February, searching for new innovative ideas to reach young digital audiences across the country. The challenge was launched in Lagos, with digital companies in Nigeria now able to apply for take part by applying online by February 15.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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